Incredible, I honestly can’t believe it is here. After nearly six months away from competitive football, Bolton Wanderers kick off their highly anticipated 2020/2021 campaign against Stuart McCall’s Bradford City in a Saturday 3pm game.
The game will represent a landmark as Wanderers’ fans in the UK will be able to watch a Saturday 3pm kick from the comfort of their own homes following the relaxation of the broadcast laws changed to accommodate the Premier League’s ‘Project Restart.’
For Wanderers’ supporters the game will be the first chance to see their almost entirely new squad with there being every chance a starting line up may include 11 Bolton players making their competitive debuts for the club, although Ali Crawford may have something to say about that and an Alex Baptiste appearance will mark his 44th as he returns for now his second stint at the Trotters.
Bolton’s new captain, the imposing Antoni Sarcevic, will be hoping to mark his first competitive game as skipper with a win following his free signing after his contract expire at Plymouth Argyle and Bolton will certainly hoping that new striker Eoin Doyle will be fired up as he faces one of his former clubs in Bradford City.
If Bolton are to make a statement in their opening fixtures, they unfortunately will have to do so without promising forward Dennis Politic who suffered at long term injury whilst playing for Bolton at Loughborough University. Reiss Greenidge returns after missing the last couple friendlies, whilst new signing Andrew Tutte will also be available for selection, having signed a one year deal yesterday.
Bradford City Goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell is certainly fired up for the occasion as he told Simon Parker at the Telegraph & Angus that the Yorkshire side ‘don’t fear anyone.’ The full story can be found here.
There have certainly been some spicier encounters over recent years between the Roses Rivals with most recently, Wanderers’ young guns taking a competitive Bradford side to a penalty shootout in the EFL Trophy last season, with the Bantams coming out on top. Prior to that a Gary Madine 2nd half goal saw Bolton come from two goals down to draw in a crucial game in the 16/17 League One promotion race in front of a packed Valley Parade.
Wanderers are favourites to progress with the bookies - an outright win is evens & they’re 8/15 to qualify for the next round.